Sterling responds after alleged racial attack at Chelsea
England footballer Raheem Sterling has responded on social media after an alleged racist attack on him at Chelsea on Saturday.
As Chelsea and the Metropolitan Police investigate footage of football fans shouting at the Manchester City forward, Sterling said it was time to have his point heard.
And he accused newspapers of "fuelling racism".
Posting pictures on Instagram of two newspaper headlines about young footballers buying houses, Sterling said the language used in the story about the black player was negative while the one about the white player was positive.
"Good morning," the footballer wrote, "I am not normally the person to talk a lot but when I think I need my point to be heard I will speak up."
Sterling refers to the incident on Saturday during the first half of the match at Stamford Bridge, saying "as you can see by my reaction I just had to laugh because I don't expect no better".
The first picture shows a story about "young Manchester City footballer" Tosin Adarabioyo reportedly buying an expensive house "despite never having started a Premier League match", while the other shows a story about "Manchester City starlet Phil Foden buys new £2m home for his mum".
"I think this is unacceptable," he wrote, adding that both players were innocent but the "young black kid is looked at in a bad light" which "fuel(s) racism and aggressive behaviour".
He concluded: "So for all the newspapers that don't understand why people are racist in this day and age all I have to say is have a second thought about fair publicity and give all players an equal chance."
Twitter users highlighted Saturday's first-half incident when a Chelsea supporter appeared to abuse Sterling, which was also tweeted by pundit and former England striker Ian Wright, who said "the bad old days are back".
Gary Lineker, who called the footage "despicable", praised Sterling for his post, saying it was "brave and right" that the player spoke out, while Rio Ferdinand tweeted: "Are we going to continue to allow this type of racist behaviour go on??? All for kicking a ball!"
The journalist who wrote the story on Adarabioyo's house purchase has clarified his reasons for covering the story, adding that "reporters don't do headlines".
The story was done at a time when BT had a documentary on teenage footballers earning millions. It was topical and there was a huge debate about it. The same day there was at least an hour segment about it on Talksport. The original story, which I followed up, appeared in The Sun https://t.co/ailPWiJdJ2
— Anthony Joseph (@AnthonyRJoseph) 9 December 2018
Anthony Joseph tweeted: "Sterling raises some very valid points that the media need to listen to. I can only explain the story I wrote – it was topical and not based on race. I know for some that won't be enough…"
Lord Ouseley, chair of Kick It Out which campaigns for equality in football, has called on the game's leaders to address the incident at Stamford Bridge and the issues raised by Sterling on Sunday.
He wrote: "What happened at Chelsea shows what is still going on in football.
"Where is (Premier League executive chairman) Richard Scudamore, where is (Football Association chairman) Greg Clarke, where is Chelsea's chairman (Bruce Buck) – they should have been talking out last night and it has to be dealt with at the top.
"We do not have any leadership at the top of the game to speak out, they rely on Kick It Out."
The FA released a statement saying: "We take all allegations of discrimination extremely seriously and will work with the clubs and the relevant authorities to ensure this matter is dealt with appropriately.
"We strongly condemn all forms of discrimination and encourage all fans and participants who believe that they have been the subject of, or witness to, discriminatory abuse to report it through the appropriate channels: The FA, our County FAs or our partners Kick It Out."
The Metropolitan Police have confirmed to Sky News that they are investigating claims that some of the abuse was racially motivated.
A Chelsea spokesman said: "We're aware of reports and video footage. We will investigate the matter and take the strongest possible action where necessary."
The Met Police said: "We are aware of a video circulating online in which it is claimed racial abuse was allegedly directed at a player at a Chelsea v Manchester City game at Stamford Bridge on Saturday 8 December.
"We will review the footage to determine whether any offences have been committed."
No arrests have been made, the Met added.